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Geneva is simply the second best

Sunny and safe: enjoying life in Geneva Keystone

Geneva is the second best place in the world to live, according to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Vancouver took gold.

Cities in Switzerland, Canada, Australia and Austria are the most ideal destinations thanks to a widespread availability of goods and services, low personal risk and an effective infrastructure.

The EIU’s “Liveability Ranking”, part of the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, assessed living conditions in 127 cities around the world.

It looked at nearly 40 indicators grouped into five categories: stability; healthcare; culture and environment; education; and infrastructure.

Jon Copestake, editor of the report, said: “In the current global political climate, it is no surprise that the most desirable destinations are those with a lower perceived threat of terrorism.”

A separate report in September by the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich found that the Swiss continued to feel secure in their country and that the feeling of security had increased slightly since 2004.

Eighty-seven per cent of respondents to the institute’s report said they felt safe, a rise of two per cent on 2004. Terrorism was seen as a threat by only 52 per cent, compared with 67 per cent in 2003.

Swiss success

In the EIU survey Geneva shared joint second place with Vienna and Melbourne.

Geneva and Vienna’s climate is the main pitfall to living there. Zurich was joint fifth with Perth, Adelaide and Sydney and Toronto and Calgary.

With low crime, little threat from instability or terrorism and a highly developed infrastructure, Canada is hard to beat.

Of Switzerland’s neighbours, Vienna was Austria’s highest city, Frankfurt was Germany’s (joint 11th), Paris was France’s (joint 16th) and Milan was Italy’s (joint 58th). Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein, didn’t get a mention.

The worst destinations in the survey are Algiers and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.

Francly, I’m dear

In 2004 Switzerland came second in an Economist global “quality of life” survey which rated countries instead of cities and which used different criteria.

Ireland was officially the best country to live in the world “but Switzerland scored highly across the range of criteria,” The Economist’s Daniel Franklin told swissinfo at the time.

“Switzerland is known for its civic virtues and strong sense of community, as well as [high] life expectancy. But clearly what will matter in future is continued economic growth,” he said.

In June 2005 The Economist’s most recent Big Mac Index, which indicates whether a currency is under- or overvalued, showed that once again the Swiss franc is the world’s most overvalued currency.


Selected positions in the EIU survey:
1 Vancouver
2= Geneva
5= Zurich
11= Frankfurt
16= Paris
26= Cleveland (highest US city)
41= Washington DC
47= London, Dublin
58 Milan
126= Algiers, Port Moresby

The overwhelming majority of cities in the EIU survey’s top liveability range are in western Europe and North America.

Only three cities in eastern Europe fall into this bracket, along with 13 cities from Asia.

Geneva came joint 2nd and Zurich joint 5th.

All ten cities in the lowest liveability range – which are rated as having severe restrictions on lifestyle – are in Asia, Africa or the Middle East.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR